Mayors and Federal Leaders Unite Against Gun Violence – OJP’s Initiatives and Support

Mayors and Federal Leaders Unite Against Gun Violence – OJP’s Initiatives and Support

Addressing Gun Violence:

An Invitation to Collaborate:

I am honored to participate in this crucial session organized by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, alongside local and federal leaders engaged in the frontline battle against gun violence.

Mayors play a pivotal role in addressing this pressing issue, and I am eager to hear about the challenges you face and explore collaborative solutions to enhance the safety of our cities.

Recognizing the Urgency of Gun Violence:

Gun violence stands as one of the most urgent and devastating challenges our nation confronts today.

As mayors, you witness the firsthand trauma inflicted by violence and shoulder the responsibility of offering comfort, meeting survivors’ needs, and guiding your communities on the path to healing.

The role of “chief consoler” is undoubtedly among the most challenging hats you wear.

Collaborative Efforts for Comprehensive Solutions:

No single mayor or federal agency can single-handedly address the complex and multifaceted challenge of gun violence.

However, encouragingly, cities such as Baltimore, Miami, St. Louis, and Kansas City are uniting government, law enforcement, service providers, and communities to collectively combat violence.

The impact of these collaborative efforts is beginning to surface, with significant drops in homicide rates observed in various places over the past year.

OJP’s Support for Community Safety:

The Office of Justice Programs (OJP) proudly stands by to support cities in constructing comprehensive safety solutions.

Our approach revolves around advancing community safety, fostering trust, and strengthening the community’s role as a co-producer of safety and justice.

Recognizing the need for community infrastructure alongside law enforcement, OJP has made unprecedented investments in community violence intervention strategies.

Community Violence Intervention (CVI) Initiative:

Over the past two years, OJP has invested nearly $200 million in grants under the Community Violence Intervention (CVI) and Prevention Initiative.

This historic federal investment aims to empower cities to implement CVI strategies effectively.

These strategies involve trusted messengers mediating conflicts, interrupting violence cycles, and connecting at-risk residents with opportunities.

Approximately $60 million has been allocated to 30 local governments leading multi-sector coalitions to implement CVI strategies.

Collaboration and Partnerships:

Collaboration is integral to the success of this complex work.

Nearly two-thirds of fiscal year 2023 grantees have established partnerships with law enforcement, with others engaging prosecutors’ offices and research partners.

The CVI initiative also provides hands-on assistance to grantees and non-grantees alike, ensuring widespread access to support for implementing these life-saving interventions.

Support for ERPO Programs:

Through the Byrne State Crisis Intervention Program (SCIP), funded by the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA), OJP supports state crisis intervention efforts, including Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) programs.

ERPO programs, designed to prevent access to firearms by those posing threats, have been enacted in over 20 states.

OJP is funding a National ERPO Resource Center to provide resources and assistance to jurisdictions implementing these programs.

Resources for City Leaders:

To assist mayors and city leaders, OJP has introduced the Violent Crime Reduction Roadmap.

This comprehensive resource, organized around the Council on Criminal Justice’s report “Saving Lives: Ten Essential Actions Cities Can Take to Reduce Violence Now,” consolidates Justice Department resources.

It includes funding opportunities, technical assistance, reports, guidance, and webinars, offering a centralized hub for accessing support in addressing violence.

Grant Opportunities and Interactive Map:

As we enter grant solicitation season in early February, OJP will release a program plan outlining numerous funding opportunities for local jurisdictions.

Mayors are encouraged to watch for announcements, including new CVI funding opportunities.

An interactive map on the OJP website allows mayors to explore grants already invested in their cities.

Preventing Gun Violence:

A Collaborative Effort:

While the problem of gun violence is heart-wrenching, it is preventable.

OJP is committed to supporting mayors through funding, technical assistance, and resources.

Mayors are urged to bring their challenges, requests, needs, and successes to OJP, as we look forward to working collaboratively toward safer communities.